The New Year is getting started and many now find themselves with a little extra insulation after eating incessantly through the holiday season. Luckily, it’s a great time for fresh starts and new goals to get healthy; whether you’re a seasoned gym veteran or just beginning your fitness journey, a little extra motivation can be just what you need to kick-start your next trip around the sun.

With that in mind, I’ve put together 10 of my favorite exercise motivation quotes from a wide variety of athletes, authors, and philosophers to help you start 2013 on the right track. It’s time to put away the eggnog and pull out the gym clothes!

Exercise Motivation Quotes: Find Inner Strength


1. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

2. “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”


3. “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”


4. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Exercise Motivation Quotes: There Are No Limits


5. “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus; and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

-Bruce Lee

6. “Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your legs and the voice inside that yells can’t, but don’t listen. You just push harder and then you hear the voice whisper can and you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the person you really are.”


7. “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

-Art Williams

Exercise Motivation Quotes: Never Give Up


8. “Nothing is more certain than the defeat of a man who gives up.”

-George Sheehan

9. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

-Michael Jordan

10. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

-Mark Twain

That last one is my personal favorite. I know it’s sometimes difficult to make changes in our lives, especially with busy work and family schedules, but I truly hope you can find some inspiration here to make your health a priority this New Year. Yes, going to the gym on a cold, winter’s morning is not as easy as sleeping in your nice, warm bed, but you’ll be glad you did.

We spend so much time and energy focused on professional and financial pursuits that we tend to overlook the importance of our own physical well-being, which then causes more health-related problems and stress.

So I’d like to leave you with one last thought from motivational speaker Jim Rohn that summarizes the main idea here pretty well: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Have a happy and healthy new year!

Do you have any favorite quotations to get you motivated for the new year?



  1. profile avatar
    Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 02, 2013 - 14:16 #

    These are powerful, quotes. Thanks for sharing, Nate. While it’s tough to choose a favorite, mine is the quote from Ghandi – “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Jan 04, 2013 - 13:11 #

      Thanks, Marc! Hopefully these help everybody kick off the new year on the right track.

    2. profile avatar
      nolubabalo Jan 05, 2013 - 02:43 #

      Those quotes aren’t called MOTIVATIONAL quotes for nothing……………thank you built lean team for always being there to guide and motivate.

  2. profile avatar
    Seb Jan 02, 2013 - 18:07 #

    i like the arnold quote

  3. profile avatar
    christian Jan 02, 2013 - 22:18 #

    The unknown one I think is best

  4. profile avatar
    Fitness In Chandler Jan 04, 2013 - 08:19 #

    Amazing quotes… Thanks for sharing.

  5. profile avatar
    Amy Jan 04, 2013 - 16:08 #

    I love that the ancient philosophers owned two of the quotes. Hippocrates amazes me with his insight.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Jan 05, 2013 - 15:25 #

      Absolutely! I had a few from Hippocrates that I was trying to decide between…it was a tough decision.

  6. profile avatar
    Fran Jan 04, 2013 - 16:20 #

    Personally, I know movement is necessary for longevity and health, and it is the hallmark of life, afterall dead does not move! Everytime I go to the gym I choose life. So choose life, with every breath, with every action, with every word. Here is my quote of the day:
    “Choose life – only that and always, and at whatever risk. To let life leak out, to let it wear away by the mere passage of time, to withhold giving it and spreading it is to choose nothing. ” Sr Noella

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Jan 05, 2013 - 15:27 #

      Well said…thanks, Fran!

  7. profile avatar
    austin Jan 04, 2013 - 16:25 #

    take care of you
    and you should be ok

  8. profile avatar
    Kim Lyons Jan 04, 2013 - 18:17 #

    Get Article, Nate! Marc, I love what you are doing with Built Lean. Such a great program! Congrats:)

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Jan 05, 2013 - 18:20 #

      Thanks, Kim!

  9. profile avatar
    Alberto Jan 04, 2013 - 18:26 #

    Best wishes Mark!
    Great quotes… Thank you for sharing. I have one that I like lots And inspires to me not just in The fitness sense: “The only place where a man can make a heaven from hell And a hell from heaven… IS on his mind” mind IS Powerful!!

  10. profile avatar
    M.V. Jan 04, 2013 - 18:42 #

    really nice and motivational thoughts you have shared here. thanks Nate for sharing such a inspirational thoughts with us.

  11. profile avatar
    Travis Vowell Jan 04, 2013 - 21:08 #

    The Socrates quote is going on the wall in my training studio. Short and so so sweet. Thanks Marc! I hope 2013 brings new and bigger things for builtlean. Keep up the great work

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jan 07, 2013 - 22:40 #

      Hey Travis – great to see you are still following the site. Thanks for the kind comment and hope all is well!

  12. profile avatar
    Frank Jan 05, 2013 - 09:14 #

    Here’s one for the no limits category. It’s a bit long for a banner as it would do a full lap of the gym.

    “That last rep where you’re trying as hard as you can and you barely make it!
    That is what turns on the growth mechanism in your body.
    That last almost impossible rep where you’re bearing your teeth, you’re shaking all over, you need assistance!
    That rep is very special, that rep is very different. There’s something special going on inside your body when that happens.”

    – Mike Mentzer

  13. profile avatar
    john aouad Jan 05, 2013 - 15:37 #

    very interesting article…i found myself between the lines,my ups & downs…happy new year mark

  14. profile avatar
    Ali Jan 07, 2013 - 01:04 #

    very inspiring motivational quotes

  15. profile avatar
    Jessie Yang Jan 08, 2013 - 02:02 #

    I like Mark Twain’s saying; suits every situation, too.
    I always tell myself, “no pain, no gain.” Does it count? :p

  16. profile avatar
    Seb Jan 10, 2013 - 20:00 #

    nate i know this is irrelevant but can u help me with how do do this for a rowing interval
    do u know a good strategy to get an average split of 1:50 for a 2k (2000 meters)

    like what rating? – should i pull 1;50 the whole time? built endurance/stamina?

    also the micheal jordan quote is a good one because to get in shape/ eat healthy u have to start it!

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Jan 13, 2013 - 14:26 #

      Hey, Seb!

      I really haven’t done much rowing so I think that would be a better question for Marc or another trainer on the site, but you might just try mixing up your routine from time to time between endurance rowing and intervals. Both are good for you!

  17. profile avatar
    Gary Coxe Jan 13, 2013 - 02:22 #

    One of my personal favorite quotes “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – This is so true! Getting the things you want in life is not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough and yes, it’ll be worth all the sacrifices you take. The things that’s hard to get are the things that last! Great read, great post!

  18. profile avatar
    Dima Visser Jan 15, 2013 - 03:43 #

    “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”

  19. profile avatar
    Loic Jan 15, 2013 - 13:34 #

    I’m french therefore there is a quote from a French man called NAPOLLEON:

    Remember there is no such thing as SOMETHING FOR NOTHING! You must be willing to sacrifice something
    to obtain this power. Ability to reach, and influence your mind has its price,
    and you MUST PAY THAT PRICE. The price of ability to turn your dreams into reality is PERSISTENCE.
    You cannot develop the desired ability for a lower price. You, and YOU ALONE must decide whether or
    not the reward for which you are striving for is worth the price you must pay for it in effort.
    You MUST CONCENTRATE upon a given DESIRE until that desire becomes a BURNING OBSESSION.
    The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind.
    Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.
    If you find yourself lacking in persistence, this weakness may be remedied by building a stronger fire under your desires.

  20. profile avatar
    Seb Jan 15, 2013 - 20:45 #

    Ok thanks nate i asked stephen he didnt reply thats why i asked u
    Thanks for the tips ill ask marc

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